How do you know when alcohol is negatively affecting someone you love? What should you do when you suspect that someone you know is suffering from an alcohol addiction? This article will help you discover signs and symptoms so that you can be prepared to take the proper action against alcohol abuse and addiction.
First, let’s consider the facts. Someone you know or love drinks heavy amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. They seem fine, and their alcohol consumption doesn’t seem to disrupt their daily life. So how do you know if they are abusing alcohol or if an alcohol addiction is forming? Take a little extra time to notice how alcohol currently integrates with your friend’s or family member’s life. Do they drink alcohol every day, or several times a day? Is alcohol a “necessity” for them at every function or celebration? Does alcohol change their behavior significantly? And finally, do they turn to alcohol to deal with difficult situations such as job loss or grief? If you can answer yes to any one of these questions, your friend or family member may be beginning to abuse alcohol or on the verge of an alcohol addiction. If you can answer yes to more than one of these questions, then it may be time to step in and take some action to ensure the safely and health of your loved one.
People turn to alcohol for a variety of reasons. For some, alcohol enhances happy or content feelings. For others, it helps to calm them during times of stress. Some people drink alcohol to fit in with others, and some even use alcohol as a means to forget or “wash away” memories of traumatic experiences. For these reasons, it’s important not to judge someone who is becoming addicted to alcohol. They may not even realize that their consumption has increased or that their behavior has changed. If someone you know is drinking alcohol regularly because of one of the reasons above, they will likely become defensive when approached about their alcohol consumption. If you choose to confront a friend or loved one who seems to be drinking too much alcohol too often, remember to first consider how they are changing and any possible situations that may have caused them to start drinking alcohol more heavily. There are different intervention processes and treatment options depending on the cause of their drinking. The most important thing you can do for a friend or family member who may be becoming addicted to alcohol is to show your support, be a listening ear and keep the judgmental thoughts to yourself. We all deal with situations different and your friend or family member may not know of healthier ways to cope.
Sometimes alcohol addiction is not totally a choice. Some people are more prone to fall into an alcohol addiction than others. Many factors, including genetics, how they were raised and the kinds of experiences they’ve had can lead them toward addiction faster than other people. If you friend or family member had a parent or other influential adult who drank constantly around them, then your friend or family member may see heavy alcohol consumption as a normal way of life. Physical or sexual abuse can also lead to heavy alcohol consumption. When considering your options for confronting your friend or family member about their alcohol abuse or addiction, remember to take potential pre-determination into account.
Finally, remember that alcohol abuse and addiction are not situations for one or a few people to handle alone. Dealing with someone who is addicted to alcohol can be draining and can wear thin on relationships. Do what you can to be supportive of the alcohol addict and enlist the help of a medical professional if you feel the situation getting out of control. Counselors and other medical professionals are trained to deal with alcohol addicts and can often have insight, patience and objectivity that may not come easily to you if you know the alcohol addict well. A counselor or medical professional can help you stage an intervention and suggest the most effective treatments for someone dealing with alcohol addiction.
Some argue that alcohol addiction is not a disease – that it is simply a wrong choice that a person can stop making at any point. However, there are too many factors involved in each individual’s life for such a statement to be true. Serious alcohol addiction almost always requires the help of a medical professional to recover from, which makes it an equally serious condition. After all, very few people seek to ruin their lives for the fun of it. Alcohol consumption may start as a choice, but often ends as a serious problem that requires help, patience and understanding. Be supportive and seek professional help if someone you love becomes addicted to alcohol. There is treatment out there, but the path to it requires guidance.